Curiously, the lineup for this week’s Pop Culture Happy Hour is the same as it ever was last time I was on the show: Host Linda Holmes was once again away living a life of intrigue and excitement, leaving her pal Stephen Thompson to moderate a panel that included regular bloviator Glen Weldon and guest-talkers Tanya Ballard Brown and me. Our topics: The remake of The Magnificent Seven, which I reviewed for NPR, and Fleabag, an Amazon series written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, an English actor of whom I was previously unaware. One of these two items is terrific! Continue reading
Posted in movies, podcasts
Tagged Amazon TV, Antoine Fuqua, Denzel Washington, Easy Rawlins, Fleabag, Glen Weldon, NPR, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Pop Culture Happy Hour, Stephen Thompson, Tanya Ballard Brown, The Magnificent Seven, Walter Mosley, westerns
The evergreen Eva Green is the best thing about Tim Burton’s adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ bestselling, “vernacular”-photography-inspired YA novel. But the stop-motion sequences are great, too. I reviewed the film for NPR.
Posted in movies
Tagged Allison Janney, Asa Butterfield, Chris O'Dowd, Eva Green, film reviews, Jane Goldman, NPR, Ransom Riggs, Samuel L. Jackson, stop-motion animation, Tim Burton
For various critic-related, theater company-related, and publication-related reasons, my reviews of Studio Theatre’s production of Caryl Churchill’s anticolonial sex romp Cloud 9 and Constellation Theatre Company’s new production of the Y2K-era Greg Kotis-Mark Hollman musical Urinetown have taken a long time to see print. But they’re in this week’s Washington City Paper, and online, too.
Posted in theatre
Tagged Allison Stockman, Caryl Churchill, Constellation Theatre Company, Greg Kotis and Mark Follman, Holly Twyford, Jake Null, Jenna Berk, Laura C. Harris, Matt Dewberry, Michael Kahn, musicals, play reviews, Studio Theatre, The Washington CIty Paper, Vaughn Ryan Midder, Washington City Paper
Wait, Michael Biehn starred in a short-lived Magnificent Seven series on CBS in the late 90s? I’ve always been bad at keeping up with what’s on TV, but this I should’ve known, given my long-term interest in the guy.
Anyway, here’s my NPR review of the new Magnificent Seven from Antoine Fuqua and Denzel with Chris Pratt mugging his way around, too. Random note: It’s funny that both The Magnificent Seven and Westworld, two long-dormant properties that starred Yul Brynner — most famous for the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I, “etcetera, etcetera” — as a black-clad cowboy, are both getting reimagined in 2016, isn’t it? I think it is.
Posted in movies
Tagged Akira Kurosawa, Antoine Fuqua, Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, film reviews, John Sturges, NPR, remakes, Vincent D'Onofrio, westerns
In 1999, the nanobudget horror hoaxumentary The Blair Witch Project rode a brilliant marketing campaign to blockbuster-level success. Now there’s a legacy-quel called Blair Witch. My short review is that Blair Witch has displaced previous champ Frances Ha as the longest sub-90-minute movie I’ve seen in the last decade. My longer review, for NPR, is here. Boo. Also, boooooooooooooooo.
I basically got into journalism because I wanted to write for Rolling Stone. That took longer to happen than I’d hoped it might, but it was a real thrill to get to do this piece for them yesterday, reflecting on what Star Trek hath wrought on the occasion of the franchise’s 50th anniversary.
Last night, the National Air and Space Museum showed “The Man Trap,” the first Trek episode broadcast (albeit not the first one produced), at 8:30 p.m. Eastern — the same time NBC had shown it 50 years earlier. It’s a really fun episode that demonstrates that the rich character relationships were present in the Original Series right from the beginning, and that most of the comedy in Trek was fully intentional. (Also that what was progressive in 1966 is decidedly not in 2016. But that’s how progress works.)
Thanks to Scott Tobias for suggesting me for it, and to David Fear for editing the essay.